It might be the dog hair that gets to me the most. Collected in corners and gathered around furniture legs rest rodent-sized mounds of “dust bunnies.” Bunnies? Too cute a name, these are no bunnies- they are dust monsters that need the heavy duty action of a machine more powerful than a locomotive to boldly go where no dust-buster has gone before. These oversized tufts of dust and dog hair, if passed by in enough of a hurry to leave a breeze, can roll end-over-end like tumble weed in the western winds. “Didn’t I just vacuum two days ago???!!!” I exclaim in exasperation as I peruse the film of extricated canine fur mashed into the family room carpet. I have given up hope of Gracie ever living in a clean home– Four Dogs: need I say more?
Then there is the laundry. My word, the laundry! Is it ever done? The laundry is never finished at my house. It is always in some phase of getting done, but I have not seen a day in the last 16 months that every piece of laundry was clean, dry, folded and put away. There are baskets of clean laundry that need folding, baskets of dirty laundry that need washing, piles of folded laundry that need putting away, a load in the dryer, a load in the washer, a load waiting to go in, a load waiting to come out. Where did all this laundry come from? We only added one person to our family and she’s ¼ our size!
And what about the dishes? Why do I feel like the dishes are never done? Why is there never a clean knife when I need to cut Gracie’s food into little pieces? How can three people go through so many spoons in one day????? As soon as Gracie’s dinner mess has been cleaned up, then it’s the cooking for our meal that must be cleaned up… then our dinner dishes… then when I am sure all the dishes and all the bottles have been washed— four or five “strays” get picked up and added to the sink.
I think about the days when my home was regularly clean, the laundry was done, the dog hair in check instead of merely being held at bay. Didn’t I used to be a good housekeeper? Uh— Actually, no. I was never a good house keeper… I used to HAVE a good house keeper. She came every week. Her labor kept my home from chaos and built the façade of my neat and ordered life. And then we had a baby- and disposable income was designated to disposable diapers. All of the sudden I didn’t have a house keeper- I WAS the house keeper!
Will Gracie ever see what a clean house looks like? Maybe when we go visit other people! Doug says it’s good for her in the long run- “She’s building up anti-bodies!” I remember saying to Doug when Gracie was just a few weeks old; “How do people have jobs AND kids?” It’s amazing how little you can get done in a day chasing after a little person (let alone more than one of them- I can’t imagine!)
But sometimes I hear the voice of the enemy start to attack me for being a less-than-stellar housekeeper (as if that is something significant on my resume, some cornerstone of my identity!) “You’re lazy!” “You are pathetic!” “You are one unorganized mess.” “You can’t get anything done, you should be ashamed!” “You’re a terrible house keeper.” “You’re not doing enough!” Do you hear those voices too?
I feel so fortunate to know the Lord whenever I come under attack. I bet there are a lot of women out there under the same attack, and they listen to those voices of darkness and let those thoughts define them- or spend their lives striving for something they can never live up to. When the voice of the enemy starts to slink around in my head, I look for grace. God’s undeserved blessing on my life, his justification and righteousness. I am forgiven for oversized dust-bunnies, undone laundry and stray dishes because the Lord reminds me of a more important responsibility- tending to Gracie and Doug and our four dogs.
So if there are monstrous fluffs of dog-hair gathering around the legs of my furniture because I spent the afternoon with Gracie in my lap reading her favorite books and singing “The Wheels on the Bus Go ‘round and ‘round,” then I am happy to drink in that moment and let the dust fly. If there are stray dishes because I spent my evening laughing as I watch Gracie and Doug playing “1—-2—-3!”, where he smothers her with kisses and tickles as she gleefully giggles, then I will relish that time as time well spent. And if the laundry goes undone for the sake of taking in the fresh air of a country walk with my family of seven (3 people, 4 dogs!) then as I breath in that fresh air, I will breath in the blessings of the Lord and that moment. Because these moments are never enough, and they are far more important than anything on my “to-do list.” And if I take the advice of those parents who have gone before me, then I will wisely take heed that “it goes by so fast” and I will take the time to enjoy every second of it. I’ll give myself a “pass” on the clean house for the privilege of another moment of wonder before I start looking back wondering where it all went.
When the voices of the accuser slink in and try to distract me from what’s really important: God and the blessings he’s given me stewardship of, at that time I want to remember those moments that are “never enough.” I know in my right mind, grounded with my identity in the Lord that I’d trade in the completed laundry, clean dishes and a dog-hair dust-free house for those “never enough” moments every day of the week!
I can’t remember who said it, but I remember a quote from a guy who said: “No one on their death bed ever wishes they had spent more time at work.” I don’t think they wished they spent more time doing laundry or battling dog hair either!